David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 4th Week Of April
In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA.† †Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.)†† Now that weíre all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs.† I could stop writing them entirely Ė waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis.† I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips.† Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job Ė growing the use of collaboration technologies Ė especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time.† In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis. †Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help.† My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog.† I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal Ė at least for a little while.†
So, in no particular order:
∑ In case you missed it, Virgin Atlantic / Virgin Australia owner Richard Branson recently asked for huge government loans for his airlines, and offered one of his private islands as collateral for the loan.† If you needed an example of how out of touch the billionaire class is, there you go.† Does he think anyone in the world would be able to and / or want to buy the island at a foreclosure sale, or, does he think it can be sliced into little chunks and fed to the worldís hungry?† That whole situation leads to my next thought.
∑ The horrific COVID-19 crisis has brought the USí airline industry to a turning point that we really should embrace.† Is it really appropriate for an industry to be deemed essential yet allow it to be privately owned and operated to the benefit of the shareholders and not the users?† When times are good the airline investors and management pocket wads of cash and strip away passenger rights and benefits, and when times are bad they sit on their personal fortunes and put their hands out for government support.† Thatís an all reward and no risk model that is the antithesis of a free-market, capitalist system.† No one can look at it honestly and say that itís an appropriate or fair business model Ė especially in light of the loan / bailout requests that exceed some of the airline firmsí total valuation.† I absolutely hate the idea of having the government operate the airlines as a public utility, but I have to admit that this awful model is superior to and fairer than what we have in the US airline industry now.† With business and leisure travel currently down close to zero itís the perfect time to make this change.† I suggest we come out of the pandemic with an airline industry that is not privatized, and operates in the public interest, not the investorís interest.† In my opinion, letís not bail out the airlines, letís just let capitalism work the way itís supposed to, and just buy them out once theyíve failed.
∑ As long as Iím ranting on governments and capitalism, thereís this.† I generally donít like to discuss politics in my blogs, as peopleís beliefs generally cannot be changed nor moved despite any facts presented, but you owe it to yourself to read George Packerís recent article in The Atlantic.† It made me sad and embarrassed for our country, and it may make you sad and / or angry, but no one can dispute his truthful look in our collective mirror.
∑ And staying with theme of rants about the government, make sure youíve watched the viral Vic DiBitetto (very, VERY NSFW) rant video recorded in his car.† I wish I could say he was wrong, but for the most part heís not.
∑ My wife and I like to attend theater shows and concerts for a little joy and diversion.† So far this year our tickets to shows that were postponed or cancelled include Elton Johnís Farewell Tour and a Straight-No-Chaser acapella concert.† With Broadway closed weíll miss Plaza Suite with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker in May, and Iím worried about our very hard to get tickets to see The Music Man with Hugh Jackman in September.† I mean, even if Broadway shows are open in September, without a vaccine or a treatment would I actually go? Would you?†
∑ I can completely understand that movie shoots that have not been filmed have been postponed.† No one wants to potentially expose the actors or the crew to a deadly virus.† But with everyone stuck at home going stir-crazy, for the movie studios to have some great completed films ready to release but holding them back until theaters re-open is just unforgivable. †Most people can access pay per view TV systems and would happily pay to see these movies.† No one is asking them to give their work away for free, but it is time for Hollywood to embrace the new normal.
As always please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.)† Stay safe, be well, hug those youíre sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive.† Weíre going to be in this for a long while.†
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
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